About Five Short Blasts

Five Short Blasts

In international maritime language the sound signal of five short blasts means “I am not sure of your intentions and am concerned we are going to collide”. Vessels use the audible signal of five short blasts to communicate this alarm, using a horn, a whistle, or whatever is to hand. 5 Short Blasts is inspired and deeply informed by this maritime expression of uncertainty, drawing attention to the shared act of navigating the unknown.

This city tour is a critical incursion onto the Vltava, a river laden with historical and cultural meaning and existing today as a playground for tourist boats. These boats are the architectural obtrusion, navigating and / or confined by lochs representing past functions and meanings. It is an experimental in situ work focusing on contested narratives of place, realised in composed sound that intersects with ambient sonic atmosphere.

A journey in small boats and in four stages: across the swiftly / slowly running river across to the lock; drifting down past the Shooting island; across the top of the cascade; and, lingering under the bridge arch. Our small fleet quietly turns our ears toward the incidental and inter-dependent orchestration of weather, water, people and boats. The work literally navigates through a series of overlapping spheres of activity, signalled with a composed radio broadcast that inexplicably and ambiguously blends with the ambient soundscape. It is a choreography of overlapping activities and an orchestration of all kinds of sound signals and voices associated with the water, with its intersection of industry, community and recreation. Each stage orchestrates and contextualizes collected sounds and speech, from the Czech Republic, framed by original texts by Pavel Brycz and Tony Birch.

Originally created in the Port of Melbourne and the lower Yarra River, Melbourne Australia with the local water communities. 5 Short Blasts continues our aim to present experimental in situ works that focus on contested narratives of place, realised in composed sound works. 5 Short Blasts will traverse an urban space of accreted transformation that is on the apparently unchanging architectures of old Prague.

Five Short Blasts was first presented in Melbourne and produced by the City of Melbourne’s Arts Participation Program with support from Port of Melbourne Corporation. This adaptation has been supported by IETM-Australia Council for the Arts Collaboration Project.

Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey (Australia)
Australian audio artists who work with the human experience of listening, their collaborations intersecting with industry, communities and sites across public art, film, radio, theatre, dance and installation.

Curator: Anna Tregloan
Author of theme: Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey
Designer of exhibition: Madeleine Flynn, Tim Humphrey
Production: Bindi Green, Amalié Bulandrová
Other collaborators: Bec Reid (Producer),Pavel Brycz (writer), Tony Birch (writer)

For full list see Credits page.

I am unsure of your intentions and concerned we may collide